Archive for March, 2006


Been meaning to post these for y’all just in case you are in the area.

March 21, 2006
Mid-Michigan Fox Users and Developers Group (Lansing, MI)
* Using and Extending the VFP Data Explorer
* Using CASE Tool Techniques

April 8, 2006
Grand Rapids Area Fox User Group (Grand Rapids, MI)
* Best Practices for Error Handling (rehearsal for GLGDW)

May 11, 2006
Midwest FoxPro User Group (Kansas City, Missouri)
* The Professional Developer’s Toolkit
* Best Practices for Error Handling

More to come, but these are in the next couple of months. Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in having me present a session or two for your user group.


I received some exciting news a couple of weeks ago. I have been sitting on this until the clearance was provided. This evening I was given the okay to publicly announce I am speaking at Advisor’s DevCon this August 27-31 in Phoenix.

This year the theme for DevCon is “It’s all about integration!” I will be presenting “Using and Extending the Visual FoxPro Data Explorer” and “Deployment in the Real World.”

It looks like I will be in good company. The other speakers are:

  • Craig Boyd
  • Jim Duffy
  • Markus Egger
  • Toni Feltman
  • Cathi Gero
  • Tamar Granor
  • Alan Griver
  • Doug Hennig
  • Lisa Slater Nicholls
  • Colin Nicholls
  • Cathy Pountney

More details will be posted soon on the Advisor Web site.

I was a little worried Therese was going to ask me to pass on the invitation because this is the week my son moves back to college. Once again she is going to take on additional parental responsibility while I go off and have fun with my FoxPro friends. I am a very lucky geek.


Looks like more positive press about Visual FoxPro and specifically Sedna in the news. Check out the FoxPro Popping Corks in Redmond Magazine. Thanks to Ken for pointing this out to me.

The only issue I have with the article is the insinuation you have to be in the FoxPro inner circle to get the bits for the Sedna Community Technology Preview (CTP). Nada, everyone can get the bits. It is all part of the new Microsoft approach to the alpha/beta cycle and their transparency in approaching the release for the next release of VFP.


Is it just me or are things out of control again?

When I was in college (1984) AT&T; was considered a monopoly by the United States government. For the youngsters or folks outside of the USA in the reading audience: AT&T; was the phone company and often was referred to as Ma Bell. The government took action and busted up AT&T; for our benefit into the “baby bells”. Huge amounts of cash was spent on this event.

Fast forward to 2005 and SBC Communications (a combination of Ameritech and several of the original baby bells) buys its former parent company AT&T; for US$16 Billion . Fast forward to 2006 and AT&T; is now prepared to buy BellSouth for US$67 Billion. Sixty-seven BILLION dollars? When the merger is complete it will mean almost half of the 24 baby bells will be back under the AT&T; umbrella.

To add salt to the wound AT&T; sold AT&T; Wireless to Cingular Wireless, which happens to be owned by SBC Communications, which later bought AT&T.; The other owner of Cingular Wireless is BellSouth soon to be part of AT&T.; Another case of company cannibalism?

Where does all this money go??? Does this make them half of a monopoly again?

Is it just me…?


Yesterday I experienced some nostalgia with Visual FoxPro. A few months ago Rick Borup asked me if I would write a short article about discovering something new in Visual FoxPro for the Advisor Discovery column he tech edits in the Advisor Guide to Microsoft Visual FoxPro.

Yesterday I wrote this short article and had to do a little fact research for the piece. I pulled off the shelf my binder for the 1995 Microsoft FoxPro International Developer Conference (DevCon). This is the DevCon where Microsoft revealed Visual FoxPro 3.0 publicly. I went through the binder and read the topics and descriptions and the speaker list. Wow.

Interesting statistics:

  1. 80 people from the Microsoft VFP team are listed as special guests (Calvin Hsia and Cameron Slade are the only two remaining on the team today, and several are high up corporate ladder in Microsoft and other companies).
  2. Only 9 CompuServe MVPs (Beane, Booth, Freeman, Granor, Pollack, Ruple, Sexton, Shultz, and Slater), two are still officially MVPs and several more are active in the Fox Community. There are 33 VFP MVPs today.
  3. 50 sessions
  4. 50 speakers
  5. Up to 13 sessions going on at one time
  6. 14 session slots plus keynotes.

A lot has changed in 11 years, but some things still remain the same. For instance, the approach I take to picking sessions I attend during the conference. I looked at my session choices for the 1995 conference and questioned some of my selections. Looking back I missed Savannah Brenthall’s Overview of the Visual FoxPro Object Model and Alan Griver’s FoxPro and Client-Server – A Path to Reengineering. In reality the choices were tough because I could only see a third of the sessions. I had to make choices that not only benefited me, but benefited the company I worked for (EDS) and the team I was a part of at the time.

In this binder I still have the 28 page “Trip Report” I did for my team. I detailed all the sessions I attended, all the benefits of moving the development of our organization to VFP and SQL Server from FoxPro 2.6 for DOS and Windows. It looks like the arguments I made then would still work today.

It was a great conference and it was fun reliving some fond memories I probably should have used the time to work on the sessions I will be giving at the conferences this year, but I think the perspective of the 1995 conference will better prepare me for the 2006 season.

Anyway, if you recall a moment in time when you discovered something about Visual FoxPro and have a spare hour or two, write it up and send it off the Rick Borup. I have enjoyed reading the few articles published in this new column and look forward to reading your discoveries.


Quite a frustrating week with my new Treo 700 cell phone. As I noted in a prior post, ActiveSync is not doing its job when it comes to synchronizing tasks, contacts, and calendar entries. It is something I expected to be simple. Outlook, ActiveSync, and Windows Mobile 5.0 are all owned by Microsoft so I expected this to be a no-brainer. It has been more than a little frustrating, but the end of the story has a happy ending.

This week I spent too much time (which is a premium of late) researching error 85010014 on the Web and in some Windows Mobile forums. Lots of ideas, but most point to Exchange Server trouble or not running the latest ActiveSync (which I am). Not fun.

So I broke down and headed to my local Verizon to the tech support desk (the same desk who told me I was out of touch when it comes to technology last summer {g}). They asked me one question and handed me the phone number to the Verizon Data Tech Support line. I called them the next morning and after two simple questions they forwarded me to the Palm Tech Support line. Guess Verizon cannot keep up with technology {g}.

The guy at Palm was nice and promised to get this problem resolved. I provided the error code and he said, he had seen this before. Finally, a fix at hand.

We went through my entire system tray and stopped the apps he felt could conflict (strange how SQL Server and SnagIt could be trouble, but the Palm HotSync is not). No luck. Next he had me hard reset the phone. A bit harsh from my perspective, and it made no difference other than for me to lose all the settings I made setting this phone up. No problem, just another half hour of my time to reload the programs I have installed and the settings I made. Next step, Outlook must be broke. At least this time he had me back up my PST file before attempting to the Detect and Repair option. Still no luck. The next step suggested is to uninstall and reinstall Outlook. This is where I drew the line. No possible way am I taking this drastic step. Why not just recommend I reformat the drive? Sheesh. I rely on Outlook as much as I rely on Visual FoxPro to make a living.

This morning I decided to research alternative sync tools. I came across two: PocketMirror for Windows Mobile and Intellisync. I have been a big fan of PocketMirror with my PalmOS PDAs. It rocks and is exactly what I expect out of a sync tool. Simple decision. I checked out the Web site and it is only US$50. I called Chapura and unfortunately they have not released it yet and don’t have a beta program. It is expected to be released in a month. Too bad, because I cannot wait that long because the phone has to go back in 19 days if I cannot get this to work. I am a big fan of brand loyalty so this hurts.

I downloaded the trial of Intellisync and within 30 minutes I have all my contacts (nearly 500 of them which surprised me), all 800 calendar entries, and 200 tasks all synced to the phone. Oh, and it syncs subfolders! Swwweeeet! Subfolders is something ActiveSync does not have a clue about. Guess I have some new brand loyalty. Intellisync not only synchronizes Outlook, it syncs with a bunch of PIM apps. It also syncs to a PalmOS device. It seems like a great deal at US$70.

So I have 30 days to evaluate this software and I am planning to make a decision much sooner than the deadline. My advise to you if you are thinking about PocketPC is to skip ActiveSync for everything other than transferring files and loading software. Save yourself hours trying to solve this dumb problem.

By the way, I really like the phone and now that all my contacts are sync’d, life is good. Like I said, a happy ending.